Letters To The Editor

Lakewood Citizen Susannah Selnick, And Friends Of Madison Park Speak Out Against Closure Of Basketball Courts

A Lakewood Citizen's Response to the City's Reaction to Recent Violent Crime

I, like all of my fellow Lakewoodites, am saddened and outraged by the string of violent crimes that have occurred in our City in the last few weeks. 

But, I am equally saddened and outraged at the response of our City leaders in the wake of these tragic events.

Basketball courts do not cause gun violence. Guns cause gun violence. The City’s response to close only these courts, sends a very clear message: Keep “others” out, so long as we are protected. And if this is not the intended message, then why did the City not also force the closure of Game On or the Metro PCS store where two other violent crimes occurred in the last month? Or why not close the roads to cars where individuals have recently been carjacked at gunpoint?

Basketball courts provide a welcoming, free, recreational space for children and adults to exercise, socialize, and have fun. It just so happens that two of these violent crimes in Lakewood in the last month have occurred on a basketball court.


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Volume 17, Issue 9, Posted 12:32 PM, 04.21.2021

It's Déjà Vu All Over Again

As Covid-19 ravaged the world this time last year and physicians and scientists urged us to wear masks and to keep at least six feet away from others, conspiracy theories and misinformation abounded. A year and over 500,000 American deaths later, it’s déjà vu all over again as many people hesitate to get vaccinated against Covid-19 because they’ve heard it will damage their DNA. 

            The vaccines do not use DNA (Deoxyribonucleic Acid) and they do not affect or damage DNA. The Covid-19 vaccines use fragments of mRNA (messenger Ribonucleic Acid), which is not DNA. The mRNA fragments in the vaccines stimulate our bodies’ immune systems to develop antibodies against the Covid-19 virus because those are genetically identical to the mRNA in Covid-19. Those antibodies will remember how to fight the virus if we are infected in the future. 

            Another objection to getting vaccinated is that stem cells are used in the vaccines. However, while the Johnson & Johnson Covid-19 vaccine was produced by growing the virus in fetal cells during vaccine development and manufacturing using the PER.C6 line, the vaccines themselves do not contain stem cells or pieces of DNA. The vaccines produced by Pfizer and Moderna did not use a fetal cell line to produce or manufacture the vaccine.


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Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 12:32 PM, 04.21.2021

Traffic Noise In Lakewood

The city of Lakewood has a lot to offer its residents. Good schools, beautiful parks, excellent library, great city services, vibrant downtown, wonderful restaurant scene, the list goes on. These things make Lakewood a desirable place to live and create a good quality of life. However, that good quality of life has been diminished in recent years by excessive traffic noise.

Illegal and defective exhaust systems on cars, trucks and motorcycles have increased dramatically over the last few years and have reached a point where it has become a nuisance at best and a health hazard at worst. In 2011, the World Health Organization released a report titled, “Burden of Disease from Environmental Noise” “The authors concluded that ‘there is overwhelming evidence that exposure to environmental noise has adverse effects on the health of the population’ and ranked traffic noise second among environmental threats to public health (the first being air pollution). The authors also noted that while other forms of pollution are decreasing, noise pollution is increasing.


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Volume 17, Issue 8, Posted 12:32 PM, 04.21.2021

Things Happen And We Want Change

So, tonight, January 6th 2021, is a day that will go down in infamy-- tells me Chuck Schumer, who, at this late moment of the day will be the Senate Majority Leader, quite soon. But--will it?

They have, meaning the manufactory of non events, been telling us since the pandemic arrived that we are in this together-- check your progressive tax rates for following Dec 7th, 1941 and following March Come Pandemic Day 2020. There seems to be a discrepancy of actual in this togetherness proof.

Real events are built on non lies and power redistribution-- not meaning to say that all new distributions of power avail nice history. But, if we want a life of actual events we have to deal with the powers that are most present to us. These, ultimately, are labor and capital-- not an easy division say some, many invest in the stock market. Yet, I’ve heard that those that invest in the stock market don’t actually own any part of decision whereas someone with the power of negotiation for their labor always owns a part of decision if they so choose to own it. I know, an idealism, but: THEY SAY DEMOCRATS WON THE ELECTION IN GEORGIA. So, why is it we elect Democrats?


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Volume 17, Issue 2, Posted 3:47 PM, 01.20.2021

Think Small For Thanksgiving 2020

As you plan Thanksgiving this year, try one simple and easy idea: stay home, together with people you live with.

This option is perfect for a dire pandemic, like the one we’re experiencing. There’s really no better way to go right now. A recent headline about our northern neighbors, who celebrate several weeks before we do, explains: “Canada’s had its Thanksgiving—and now has a COVID-19 spike.”

But staying in on Thanksgiving is also one of life’s best-kept secrets.

I have hosted Thanksgiving for three, or two, or even one, many times, and it’s one of the best days of the year. It’s unbelievably peaceful. Not just Thanksgiving itself, but everything. When you go small on Thanksgiving, you discover that the last Thursday in November is about as close as America gets to just giving it a rest for one whole day, all year.

Try it, trust me on this.

You could experiment with variations. You could stay in and still prepare a feast for 10; you’ll just have more leftovers. If you have to go visiting, try to stay outdoors. If you have to break bread together, avoid any kind of buffet service.

Staying in, though, is really something everyone should try for Thanksgiving some time, and this year is about the best moment you could choose. Stay safe everyone.

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Volume 16, Issue 22, Posted 11:35 AM, 11.18.2020

Things Will Not Change

Or, will they? Been recently reading an article by Rahm Emanuel, an old article, meaning before the virus, May 2019- what said? He’s sick and tired of elites running things, it seems. How nice of him to say. But, what does it mean? He’s an elite guy with a bug, somewhere. There is a massive break between what we think and what people tell us what to think. It’s so massive that the only thing we can perceive is attitude and demeanor and a few vague talking points. Okay, so all this is quite obvious to us. But, what if we cannot connect between what education is and what it means to be a human being? There is a massive virus afoot but there was one before it came-- education thinking it must tell people what to do, that education is power. A man concretely yelling middle class, Rahm Emanuel, when there is nothing in his thoughts but political power, as in, how to tame the middle class. Not to mention, Mr. Emanuel, the Democrats have decided to dismiss the poor.

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Volume 16, Issue 20, Posted 10:13 AM, 10.22.2020

Drain The Swamp #45

I saw the most amazing yard sign today on the way to work – Drain the Swamp. Of course, the designer of such a foul thing has to use our country’s proud colors. Red, white and blue – did you know white signifies purity and innocence? Red is for hardiness and valor and our blue signifies vigilance, perseverance and justice. All the great symbolism our country stands for is vulgarized in this hideous sign. The verbiage is equally horrific. I’m not going to even address what I think they want the sign to mean.

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Volume 16, Issue 19, Posted 6:07 AM, 10.08.2020

Selfish Noisemakers

Another beautiful summer has come to add to the beauty of our city. But, with has come a return of the noise made by those who simply like noise regardless the disturbance of peace of those around them. This noise comes from people who put loud exhaust systems on their vehicles, often motorcycles, but also cars; and also from vehicles driven with windows open and stereos blasting the driver's choice of music at a deafening volume.

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Volume 16, Issue 14, Posted 4:08 PM, 08.05.2020

The Elephant In The Room

Cultures across our nation have the absolute right to raise their children the way they seem fit. The Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment protects this liberty, incorporating “the right to marry, establish a home, and bring up children.” However, this amendment does not give parents or caregivers the right to emotionally, physically, and sexually degrade each other in the presence of their own young, influential children.

In the United States, between 4.5 million and 15 million children are exposed to physical violence in the home. The nonprofit research organization Child Trends reported in 2018, approximately 4.5 million children had seen or heard parents or other adults use offensive language, slapping, hitting, kicking, or punching each other in the home. If this pattern of ongoing destructive behavior among adults in the home is not professionally addressed, especially during a child’s developmental years, there is a higher risk of continuing the cycle of violence within the family structure over the years.


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Volume 16, Issue 13, Posted 5:19 PM, 07.01.2020

Lakewood Public Library Needs To Open Up Its Computer Labs

Lakewood Public Library needs to provide computer service for its patrons who have no home computer. 

People need to use the computers for emails, online banking, food shopping, job searching, unemployment applications, researh, virtual appointments, and printing. Students, with no home computer, need to have access to distance learning.

I emailed James Crawford, Director of Lakewood Public Library, asking when he will open up the computer labs and he replied:

"It may be several weeks if not months before the Library offers patrons access to public computers.

I understand that the Westlake Porter Public Library is offering public computer access. I suggest calling Westlake Porter to ask what you would need to obtain a library card and computer access there.

Also, I understand that UPS stores are offering computer access for a fee. 

Finally, you may want to call the Cleveland Public Library to learn what their plans are to offer computer access to Cleveland residents..."  

I wonder why the Westlake Porter Library is opening up their computer labs to help the public, while the Lakewood Public library is not? Their library cannot serve the needs of all Ohioans with no computer. And some people have no cars and cannot get to their library.


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Volume 16, Issue 12, Posted 5:19 PM, 07.01.2020

It Ain't Over Til It's Over

Although we’re not even close to being out of the woods yet vis à vis COVID-19, some of us are acting like we already are - not keeping a safe distance, and not wearing a face mask. These risky behaviors emphasize the need to remember that we’re all interdependent. 

Much ado has been made of the perceived ‘need’ to “Make America smart again.” What we do need to do is to start thinking again. So, let’s think about some of the myths that are being used to justify the careless behavior that has emerged since Ohio and the rest of the world started reopening. 

            “I’m young and COVID-19 won’t affect me.” While not everyone who’s infected by COVID-19 has symptoms or gets sick, if you’re infected you can still pass it to others – including your partner, children, parents, and grandparents -  if you don’t wear a face mask and don’t maintain physical distancing. 

            “Wearing a mask doesn’t help because the virus is so small.” Virus particles are small, but a mask or face covering filters out droplets of your breath that may carry the virus if you are infected. Because not everyone who’s infected gets sick, you could be infected and passing the virus along without knowing it. Wearing a mask protects others. Physical distancing protects you and others. 

             “Making me wear a mask violates my rights.” Do you really want to exercise your right to get sick, die – or infect or kill someone else? Everything we do affects others. The opposite of careless is caring


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Volume 16, Issue 11, Posted 10:38 PM, 06.03.2020

One Mother Asks... Letting Your Kids Hang Out? WTF!

“So have been trying to figure out a way to post this and not come off like a major bitch. It just isn't possible. So, my apologies if you read this, it may not be directed at you. And this is also a vague post. But, if you take offense at this, I am ok with it because you are the offender.

I just had to have a 20 minute conversation with my very upset teenage son about why he can't go to his friend's house when all of his friends are hanging out. He listed way too many kids that have been hanging out at their friends' houses, and walking around the city. I am pissed off. What in the world is wrong with you for letting your kids hang out right now?! Now, I'm the bad guy. What is the point of all of us going through all of this, when people are letting their kids hang out right now?! This will never end if we allow this to happen.

If you are a parent of one one of these kids, and are friends with me, and are offended by this, fine. Unfriend me. I am seriously so angry right now.


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Volume 16, Issue 8, Posted 11:01 AM, 04.02.2020

Roberts And Wendt Animal Clinic Loses Its "Heart And Soul"

Roberts and Wendt Animal Clinic is a small, neighborhood animal clinic established in 1930 by Dr. Roberts and Dr. Wagner in the heart of Lakewood. It is Cleveland's oldest small animal clinic in the area. Dr. Wallace Wendt joined the clinic as a partner in 1945. The clinic doctors served as the Cleveland Metropark veterinarians from the late 1930s until 1988. The animal clinic has always been known for high quality care of one's animals. Dr. Victoria Wendt followed in her father's footsteps. She graduated from The Ohio State Veterinarian School in 1987 and began to practice at Roberts and Wendt in 1988. Dr. Victoria Wendt has been part owner and Chief of Staff since taking the practice from her dad.

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Volume 16, Issue 6, Posted 3:07 PM, 03.19.2020

Vote FOR Issue 33 To Keep Seniors Independent, Support Life Flight & Trauma Center

I urge my Lakewood neighbors to vote FOR Issue 33, Cuyahoga County’s Health and Human Services levy.

400,000 Cuyahoga County residents are helped by the services paid for by Issue 33: seniors who want to remain in their homes; kids in preschool; children at risk of abuse or neglect; people who need mental health or addiction care; foster kids; people with disabilities, and more.

On top of this, Issue 33 helps all of us through investments in MetroHealth’s life flight, trauma center, and neonatal intensive care unit.

The City of Lakewood will benefit from Issue 33: our senior services, juvenile diversion, and youth programs receive more than $500,000 in funding from Cuyahoga County that would be strengthened by passing the levy. As Chair of City Council’s Finance Committee, I can affirm this is a meaningful amount of funds to help our human services operate each year. Lakewood could not serve as many residents without this cost share from the County.


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Volume 16, Issue 5, Posted 10:32 AM, 03.04.2020

Vote Yes On Issue 28

I am voting for Issue 28 to support the Lakewood City Schools. As a parent of two current students in the district and a third future student, my family has experienced the wonderful teachers, robust curriculum, and many co-curricular opportunities the district offers. My wife and I have children in two different schools each of whom are engaged in a positive, challenging environment. The educators in our children’s lives have been very impactful and have met our children where they are academically and challenged them to move forward.  Our children have learned a great deal from their peers who represent diverse cultures.

As a member of the Lakewood Board of Education I fully support district leadership. Our leaders have demonstrated excellent community engagement as evidenced by the Vision of a Lakewood Graduate. The district has also been fiscally responsible, given that nearly seven years have elapsed since the last levy. Sound fiscal stewardship has carried the district far, however operational costs have risen. Issue 28 will relieve the district of a deficit spending situation and ensure that our schools and community stay strong.


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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 4:27 PM, 02.18.2020

In Support Of Issue 28

Dear Editor,
I am writing to share why I am supporting Issue 28 in our upcoming March election.

As I reflect on the eleven years that I have been a Lakewood resident, I am struck by how the services, programs and amenities of this community have profoundly affected my family’s quality of life. The Lakewood Family Room provided me parenting skills and resources to better care for my young children, and we made many new friends there.

My children have now grown into the public school system, and I have been impressed with every teacher, specialist and staff member I’ve met. These individuals have been responsive to my family’s needs, and more importantly to the needs of all of the children they work to serve, educate and uplift every day. Our community is uniquely diverse, and so are our children. The Lakewood schools are committed to supporting the learning and growth of every child in our community.

Issue 28 will enable our schools to:
- Offer more counseling, mental health and health services for students;
- Recruit and retain high-quality teachers by paying them competitive salaries;
- Expand STEM classes to prepare students for their futures;
- Keep educational technology and other learning materials up-to-date; and
- Maintain our community’s investment by keeping all of our school buildings, athletic fields, vehicles, and other assets in good condition.

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Volume 16, Issue 4, Posted 4:27 PM, 02.18.2020

Be Wary of Sam O'Leary. Don't Be Fooled Again.

As the saying goes, “Fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me.” In 2015, I naively supported Sam O’Leary’s campaign to maintain his Ward 2 seat on Lakewood City Council after being appointed the previous year.

At one of Sam’s campaign fundraisers that summer, we spoke one-on-one at length. Sam is approachable and articulate. He appears to take a genuine interest in others. He convinced me that he was an independent thinker committed to due diligence and the highest ethical standards. I expressed concerns regarding Lakewood’s future, including the fate of our hospital. He shared my sentiments and promised to fight. We corresponded and spoke throughout the year regarding the hospital closing, but as a council vote on the issue neared, Sam began replying with patronizing rhetoric in line with the administration. I no longer felt represented and haven’t since.

I learned just this year that in March 2015, Sam was designated campaign treasurer for former Lakewood Mayor and Cuyahoga County Executive, Ed FitzGerald, coming off his loss for Governor amid questionable behavior. Had I been aware of this at the time, I would have been leery. FitzGerald launched a fake, single issue newspaper that misled voters on the hospital issue before a community wide vote that November; and then became a consultant to the developer who scored the land grab at the corner of Belle and Detroit after council voted to close the hospital.

Sam’s St. Charles Green dream (to add land to the park system) unveiled just ahead of his 2015 campaign hadn’t been mentioned again until the eve of another election season, just weeks ago. A lack of attention to Ward 2 for nearly six years, the bombardment of recent mailings, banners, county establishment endorsements and countywide fundraisers are a clear sign that he’s doing someone’s bidding beyond his supposedly beloved hometown.  




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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Why I Support Jeff Wise For Council

As a longtime resident of Ward 3, I have always voted in elections. This year I feel compelled not only to vote, but to express why I will be voting the way I will.

It is time for a change. Now is our chance to elect folks that want to do things differently and listen to the residents. I firmly believe Jeff Wise fits that description. I had the opportunity to attend a community meeting he hosted last month. The focus of the meeting was the various developments being planned in Lakewood.

A summary of the points discussed include:

  • Jeff Wise supports development that makes sense for the neighborhood - he supports green space and sustainability as well as transitioning properly into a neighborhood
  • He believes in transparency - if elected he will continue to hold community meetings as he did when he worked in Columbus
  • He thinks when something is before a board the entire neighborhood should be notified and not just the immediate properties
  • He acknowledges he may not always say what we want to hear but he will he be up front about his thoughts
  • He opposes rubber stamping as our current council seems to prefer to do
  • He is excited that our city council could look totally different after the upcoming election

As a resident directly impacted by one of the proposed Solove Development projects, I was excited to hear his perspective. I was especially pleased to hear he believes development needs to make sense and to transition into a neighborhood. I am not getting that same sense from the current administration or the Architectural Review Board.


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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Letter To The Editor

Dear Lakewood Observer,

I've been visiting your fair suburb of Center City Cleveland for going on 20 years now. My daughter settled in Lakewood after college to pursue her artistic dreams. American Greetings made that possible. Now my two granddaughters attend what I (a teacher) consider some of the best public schools in our grand country!

Now, I'd better get to the point of my writing. I discovered the gem of hair heaven at Carabel Beauty Shop on Madison during the past few years of visits. This establishment will be celebrating 50 years of business at this location, 15309 Madison, the 1st of November. If you have never been to that pink stucco building, it's time to make an appointment for an interview with the owner Bonnie, her daughter, or any member of her delightful staff. You will walk into 1950's Hair! Hairdos, Hair Spray, and unending love and attention with talk, talk, talk!

I try to have some type of service done whenever I'm in town to visit. It truly is a gem.

Ms. Vonny Nelson Eckman
Carlise, PA (The Car Show Mecca of the East Coast, Home to United States Army War College, Dickinson College, and Penn State Dickinson School of Law.) 
Come Visit!

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Volume 15, Issue 21, Posted 5:11 PM, 10.16.2019

Letter To The Editor: Why I Am Voting For Jason Shachner

A few months ago, I recently moved into Lakewood. As a Post-9/11 veteran, I have moved around quite a bit throughout my life, and I have for a long time been searching for a community to call my permanent home. I’ve been looking for a neighborhood that is beautiful, and peaceful, and fun, while also being affordable and close to Downtown. More so, as a young LGBTQ+ woman who has recently transitioned, I needed to find a place that is welcoming and safe for me and my loved ones. Naturally, I thought of Lakewood.

Shortly after moving here, some friends of mine suggested that I should meet a neighbor named Jason Shachner. Eager to make friends in my new home, I reached out to him, and we had a beer at a local hangout. On meeting, the first thing I noticed was how young and energetic he is, and how he filled the room with positive excitement. With much enthusiasm, he told me about his life, his education, his work. He’s a person who’s been working hard for a long time to make the community a better place. He’s a devoted husband, a volunteer, and a man of faith. He is an attorney who became a prosecutor, not to lock people up – but because he wants to fix our legal system from the inside out. This is one of the reasons why, he expressed to me, he wants to become a lawmaker. As such, on November 5, he is running to represent Ward 2 on Lakewood City Council.

Beyond all these things, however, what really struck me about Jason went beyond his words, his education, or his work experience. Looking at his kind eyes and his welcoming smile, I could see a person with a truly good heart. He is the kind of human being who will do his best for me and my family. He is a person who cares for those around him no matter who they are or who they love. He is a young man, but he has an old soul. As a person who has wandered this world in search of acceptance, I appreciate that.


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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Which Way, Lakewood?

In November we will select a new mayor. Your vote will set our city's course for the next four years. Will it be business as usual, or will we head down the path of integrity and transparency?

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

Tess Neff Corrects Opponent's Flawed Statements

I have chosen to run a positive campaign for Lakewood's Ward One Council seat and I will not stoop to denigrating my fellow candidate in this race. It is unbecoming. I stand by every statement I have made during this campaign regarding my qualifications, experience and responsibilities. It is an established fact that I am responsible for the Court's 60 million dollar budget. Not only is this fact outlined in my job description, but the fiscal responsibility has been an assigned duty for the four years I have been the Court Administrator. I believe these truths were recognized and acknowledged by the voters in my large margin of victory in the primary election. My opponent's false allegations published in an earlier edition of this paper have been debunked. It is unfortunate she chose to run a campaign in that manner. 

I have lived in Lakewood for over 30 years and have raised my family here. I love Lakewood and will continue to strive to keep it a great place to live. I am humbled to have the support of so many neighbors, friends, family members, men, women and young adults. My opponent should retract her factually baseless statements. 

Tess Neff

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Volume 15, Issue 20, Posted 4:59 PM, 10.16.2019

If You Like The Truth Don't Bother Reading Sam O'Leary's Propaganda

Of late I have been hearing mayoral candidate Sam O’Leary referred to as Sneaky Sam. After reading the false propaganda he has been mailing to voters I can see why.  Sneaky Sam’s latest flyer quotes a Lakewood resident as saying, “Sam will do what’s best for the future of Lakewood.”  NOT SO!

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Volume 15, Issue 19, Posted 12:59 PM, 11.06.2019

Remember In November: Let’s Reject Divisive Political Games

Whatever happened to the “Neighborhood News?”

Four years ago, someone mailed a large eight-page brochure to Lakewood voters right before a local election. Nearly all of its content consisted of political attacks and advertising, but it was formatted like the Lakewood Observer and titled “Lakewood Neighborhood News.”

It was also sent out anonymously, and to this day the people who produced the mailing still won’t admit it.

Local reporters asked questions, for a week or so, but no one would give a straight answer. A quickie “Neighborhood News” website connected the mailing with money from Ed Fitzgerald, a former Lakewood mayor, county executive, and failed candidate for governor.

But Fitzgerald claimed he was only “an investor” in a project to start local newspapers, and that the product was definitely not just disguised campaign mail.

Four years after the “newspaper’s” single issue, that claim is exposed as a plain lie. Someone produced a campaign brochure, tried to disguise it as a newspaper, and mailed it to Lakewood voters. Then everyone involved hid from responsibility.

Mayor Mike Summers had a large advertisement in the brochure, as did the Lakewood Hospital Association, and the “Voters Engaged to Oppose Issue 64” political action committee. Text pieces smeared the candidates opposing Summers and John Litten—but no one signed them or has ever admitted writing them. Only board of education member Tom Einhouse has ever admitted creating part of the “Neighborhood News,” a filler article about school construction which was printed under his name.

But how did it get there? Who planned and created this mailing, and why have they refused to provide any transparency about it? Lakewood deserves better than dark-money games, so how do we get it?

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Ward 2 Will Get Responsive Representation With Presutto

Over my 24 years as a Lakewood resident, I've come to recognize that responsiveness is one of the most important things to look for from our city council members. I want my council members to be quickly responsive to an email about a malfunctioning crosswalk light near one of our city schools. I want them to show that they can recognize and respect sincere public angst around a rushed, ill-explained deal to close a century-old community hospital. I want them to demonstrate that they're really hearing us, their constituents.
I'm supporting Brad Presutto for Ward 2 City Council because he is one of the most responsive people I've ever met. I've worked with Brad on campaigns and community projects, and rarely does an email or text or post go out that Brad doesn't respond to within minutes, usually with a spot-on answer to a question or an offer to help in a specific way. I have no doubt that Brad will be exemplary at constituent services for the residents of Ward 2. 
I have watched Brad meet with many residents of Ward 2 throughout this campaign to hear what they like and don't like about Lakewood, what that they hope for and fear. Brad has been really listening, and I am confident he will bring this listening to bear if and when he sits on council to address problems like the relentless rise in Lakewood's water and sewer rates. 
This commitment to listen and respond to constituents has led Brad to already act on some specific neighborhood challenges he's heard about on the campaign trail. Commitment to listening and responsiveness is the cornerstone of trust, and Brad is demonstrating that he's worthy of our entrusting him to help shape the budget and policies to ensure Lakewood remains a great place to live and work. 

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Fight The Ban On Retractable Leashes

Dear Editor,

My name is Fay Olsen and I am still fighting the Lakewood ban on retractable dog leashes. I was assured by Mayor Summers that this law will be reviewed (1 year anniversary of the law) in October. They will have the ability to lift the ban on retractable leashes, which I hope they do.

The retractable leash was invented by Mary Delany in 1908 and has been successfully used for 111 years.

I got into this fight because in March, the dog paddy wagon was parked in front of my house. I had obviously been observed previously. As soon as I came down my driveway on Clifton Blvd., the Game Warden, Jack Crafter got out of the van and told me (a warning) I was breaking the law by using a retractable leash. These are words I never heard in all of my 80 plus years and never expected to hear.

I have two very small dogs. 9 lbs. and 19 lbs., respectively. The handle on the retractable leash is comfortable for me in my hand. Other loop type leashes are uncomfortable around my wrist. I maintain control of my pets and don't let them wander. I hope after living for 59 years in Lakewood I will not have to go to Rocky River or any of the surrounding suburbs where it is legal to walk my dogs in this manner.

I will be speaking September 16th at the City Council meeting at City Hall.

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Volume 15, Issue 18, Posted 3:47 PM, 09.18.2019

Fiscal Resiliency In Lakewood Is Inclusive, Diverse And Forward-Looking

Recently, some of the nation’s top economists, referencing a downtrend from bonds, currency, commodities and a projected growth of national debt, speculated that a recession may be on the horizon. Like most cities, Lakewood gets its revenue from local sources. 

The largest source of revenue, according to our city budget, comes from municipal income tax, which are taxes levied on all residents and part-year residents aged 18 or older, residents and non-residents who conduct business, or work, in Lakewood, residents and non-residents who own property, and non-residents who work in Lakewood but whose employer did not withhold income tax (as per the city’s website). 

When looking to the future of Lakewood it is not only important that we are fiscally responsible, but fiscally resilient. We can build resiliency by developing a comprehensive economic development plan now to safeguard our local economy from a potential recession. 


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Volume 15, Issue 17, Posted 6:27 PM, 09.04.2019

Regionalizing Emergency Dispatch Not Worth The Cost Of Lakewood Lives

There is talk of regionalizing Lakewood’s emergency dispatch. Lakewood is a densely populated city with a busy dispatch line. Managing safety in Lakewood is a major function of our city government and we should be looking to support and expand our team of dispatchers, not outsource services and put Lakewood’s families at risk. In an emergency, one minute lost to transferring calls is too long.

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Volume 15, Issue 16, Posted 3:19 PM, 08.21.2019

Statement On El Paso And Dayton Massacres

Last night, I began writing about the heartbreaking shooting in El Paso only to awaken this morning to another shooting, this time in my home state. I want to go on record as condemning, to the fullest extent possible, the premeditated cold blooded murders of 20 El Paso residents and 9 Ohioans. Both shootings clearly establish horrific and dysfunctional motives emboldened by the divisive political rhetoric that has been terrifyingly normalized by our current Presidential administration. 

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Volume 15, Issue 16, Posted 3:00 PM, 08.07.2019

Thank You Lakewood Renters

To the tens of thousands of other renters in our city of Lakewood, I would like to say: thank you.

Thank you, renters, for being literally the greater part of Lakewood. More than half of this community lives in rental housing, including me.

I have heard renters maligned, treated with suspicion, and referred to like we are a “foreign” presence here. Yet renters are actually the majority of the people around us, at the park or doing the grocery shopping, for example.

Additionally, many of the absolute hands-down best people I have known during 11 years in Lakewood have rented their homes. People who improve this community as volunteers, leaders, activists, entrepreneurs. It would be a sadder and poorer city without these involved citizens here, demonstrating how much they care about their home: Lakewood.

So thank you Lakewood renters. Thank you for voting, paying taxes, raising families, supporting local businesses. Thank you for sharing and shaping the community we are all part of.

Thank you, renters, for being here.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Does Lakewood Really Need More Apartments?

This letter is about the proposed development at the former Barry Buick car lots and former Spitzer car lots. Solove Developers are proposing plans for both locations.

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Volume 15, Issue 8, Posted 6:03 PM, 06.05.2019

Orchard Grove Residents Resist New Developments

My name is Colin Dussault. I have lived on Orchard Grove since the year of my birth back in 1969. For most of my 50 years, there has been a Barry Buick car lot and body shop on our three corners on Detroit Avenue. I even remember the Starter Restaurant being on the corner for a while when I was a child. I vividly recall my dear mother giving us 75 cents every now and then for cheeseburgers from the greasy spoon on the corner where the body shop offices of Barry Buick stood until recently.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

Letter To Observer

Hello. I did not see a comments section, so I ended up here. While waiting for my daughter at the Beck center, I picked up a March 6th issue from the stack on the table. Now, I have never read this publication before, or knew about it, until that day.  

But, the paper is simply tremendous, it really is. One article in particular blew me away. Penned by Haley Schultz, "153 People." It was such a well written, emotionally powerful, and personal article. I was pleasantly surprised to see a teenager with that much self-awareness and depth.

I have shared it with three other people and they were equally impressed. Thank you for publishing real articles like this and allowing outstanding writing talent to share their stories.

I learned something new that day and an important lesson from someone half my age. That's awesome.

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Volume 15, Issue 7, Posted 7:53 AM, 04.03.2019

A Resolution: Campaign Finance Reform

The time is ripe for campaign finance reform.

The very wealthy funnel huge campaign contributions to dark money groups, to influence our elections and to buy government policies. Their influence comes at the expense of everyone else.

This month, the nonprofit American Promise is leading a campaign to end the flood of dark money. Citizens throughout Ohio are contacting representatives with postcards, emails, phone calls, and visits. The message is: support a bi-partisan effort for a 28th amendment to the US Constitution.


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Volume 15, Issue 1, Posted 5:06 PM, 01.08.2019

Four Reasons To Vote This Year

1. You can choose Ohio’s drug treatment and sentencing policy. Voting yes on Issue 1 will bring immediate, real change to how Ohio deals with drug addiction. If this amendment passes, we will spend less on housing low-level nonviolent offenders in overcrowded prisons—then fund treatment and recovery services with the savings.

2. Close races and very different options. Suspense? Check. The vote margin between two futures is likely to be very narrow. Richard Cordray has committed to defending hard-won rights if elected governor: healthcare fairness for pre-existing conditions, union workers’ rights, access to abortion, equal protection for LGBTQ communities. Mike DeWine would abandon all of these to corporate lobbyists and religious extremists.

3. What’s at stake for Lakewood. Will cities be a partner for Ohio government, or just a piggy bank? Streets, senior services, transit, schools, etc., have all been shortchanged as recent state budgets withheld local government funding, and kept it in Columbus. Local elected officials from both parties have said it’s unfair. Cordray is committed to fixing this, but DeWine won’t.

4. Voting takes about 14-minutes, and affects four years or more. The 2012 nationwide average for voting was barely 14 minutes. In Ohio there’s early voting every day through Election Day, either by mail or at the County Board of Elections. Most of Lakewood lives a short walk from their local polling place. In about 14 minutes you can have a real say on national government, state government, courts, and the direct initiative of Issue 1.

Not everyone gets to have this kind of say. Please use it, vote your values, and do one thing that really matters for you and those around you.

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Volume 14, Issue 20, Posted 2:25 PM, 10.16.2018

There They Go Again

At first it was political junk mail. Here in Northeast Ohio, Nickie Antonio, William McGinty, and Ashley (“I was rated 3.5/5 for judge”) Kilbane led the brat pack of junk mailers in this past May’s primary.) Antonio and McGinty tied for first with nine mailings each, followed by Kilbane’s five, some of them joint mailings. 

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Volume 14, Issue 17, Posted 4:23 PM, 09.04.2018

The Other Side Of Politics

There is, contrary to popular belief, another side to politics. A brighter side. A well intended, positive side. A side that’s not always completely political, but personal, and a great opportunity for adventure. A large part of my identity has been shaped from my experiences working on political campaigns. Quite frankly, my acquisition of political knowledge is perhaps the smaller portion of all of the information and insights I gained from my lit-dropping, fundraising, postcard and article writing endeavors, and I owe thanks beyond words to State Representative Nickie Antonio for providing these and other experiences to me, literally at my request. Without further ado, I have stories to tell you…

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Volume 14, Issue 16, Posted 7:15 PM, 08.21.2018

Death And Taxes, Lakewood Style

Benjamin Franklin famously said that, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”  In Lakewood, the certain death of our hospital is our mayor’s ambition. He rejoices in the death of our hospital, despite the fact that the City of Lakewood had iron-clad contracts assuring that our hospital would be in operation as a full-service facility providing medical and surgical services to our citizens until 2026, eight years from now. He rejoices in the death of our hospital, despite the fact that the hospital contracts provided seven million dollars for indigent medical care. He rejoices in the death of our hospital, despite the fact that Lakewood stroke victims are no longer within two minutes of emergency hospital care. 

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Volume 14, Issue 14, Posted 5:57 PM, 07.17.2018

There's Trouble Brewing On Quail St - Part 2

In the honest pursuit of the truth, sometimes the details of a particular circumstance are not absolutely factual, but actually just perceptions of a previously known or assumed fact. I want to start this second article by correcting some of the elements of my first article in the last issue of the Lakewood Observer entitled “There’s Trouble Brewing on Quail St - Part 1." First of all, I incorrectly reported that the name of the bar was going to be the Lakewood Brew Works, but it is actually going to be named the Birdtown Brewery according to their Facebook page. Secondly, I stated that the project was approved by the City Planning Commission two years ago, but in actuality it is closer to almost 4 years ago. I am sorry that I incorrectly stated those facts, which was done out of simply thinking I remembered the facts that way. Unfortunately, when things like this happen, it often takes away from  the central message that is being presented, which is...

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Volume 14, Issue 10, Posted 3:06 PM, 05.15.2018

Skindell Tried To Save Hospital, Bullock Closed It

Lakewood's Ohio State Senator Mike Skindell tried to save Lakewood hospital and keep it open. Lakewood city councilman Tom Bullock voted twice, as a Lakewood Hospital Trustee, then as a Lakewood councilman, to close it - destroying your hospital which many thousands of people in Lakewood and surrounding areas need.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 12:39 PM, 05.01.2018

Skindell Is Best Choice For State Rep

Mike Skindell is ever-present in Lakewood’s community landscape. You can often catch him at local gatherings engaging with residents, working to support folks who want to make Lakewood a better place and standing his ground on the tough issues that face our city. A ubiquitous echo follows him as he makes his way around town: “Here’s my card. Let me know if you need anything.”

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 9:38 PM, 04.21.2018

Who Stood Up For Lakewood?

Remember the kefuffle a couple of years ago about saving our hospital? While you almost certainly do, you might not remember who stood with Lakewood and who stood with Cleveland Clinic. Their candidacy for state representative may refresh your recollection.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 04.17.2018

Martin J. Sweeney Hopes To Earn The Privilege Of Serving You In The State Senate

My name is Martin J. Sweeny and I am asking for the privilege of serving as your next State Senator.

Throughout my life, Lakewood has always been special to me. I competed in many basketball games as a teenager here, worked my first job at the Convenient Mart behind Harding, learned to play pool at Mahall’s, socialized at the old Tam O’Shanter, and spent many 4th of July nights down at Lakewood Park watching the fireworks. More importantly, it is where I met my beautiful wife Kate at her family home on Narragansett Ave.

Having had the opportunity of serving our communities for over twenty years, as both a Cleveland City Councilman and a State Representative from the 14th House District, I uniquely understand the challenges facing large, urban cities like Lakewood. From the loss of critical funding for our local schools and cities, an Opioid Crisis ravaging our communities, and a near constant Republican-led assault on the basic rights for all Ohioans, I know the issues impacting you and your neighbors in Lakewood. I promise I will always work hard for you in Columbus to ensure we have strong communities, safe neighborhoods, and are protecting the rights of working families.  

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 04.17.2018

Tom Bullock Fights for Families

I’ve had the privilege of calling Lakewood my home for the past 10 years. I run a business here, my husband and I own a home here, and we are raising our family here. I’m proud to be represented by Tom Bullock, and proud to support him in his campaign to be the next state representative for Ohio's 13th district. Tom believes that strong families thrive in vibrant, dynamic, diverse cities. He has worked tirelessly to create a safe multimodal city. One that works not just for our current modes of transportation, but with an eye to the future as well. Thanks to Tom’s efforts on City Council, it’s not unusual to see families like my mine riding their bikes to Lakewood Park, or strolling to the Sweet Spot for an after-dinner treat.

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Volume 14, Issue 8, Posted 3:27 PM, 04.17.2018

There's Trouble Brewing On Quail St - Part 1

It has been said that "The trouble with trouble is, it starts out as fun." Many of us know too well the reality of this statement through our own experiences with trouble. We often overlook the long term consequences for short term profit and pleasure.

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Volume 14, Issue 5, Posted 9:40 PM, 03.06.2018

Diverse Housing?

The November 24 web page of the Lakewood patch proclaims, “Lakewood Diversifying Housing Stock, Building ADA-Friendly Homes.” From the article it should read “home” in the singular. Let me start by stating that Lakewood, being an inner ring suburb, is pretty easy to get around if you are in a wheelchair or have any other mobility issues. I do appreciate the city leveling off the sidewalks, as I am sure  parents with strollers and kids on bikes do. We do have some good services here and the newer architecture and venues can be navigated with relative ease in places like Lakewood and Madison Parks, city buildings and supermarkets.

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Volume 13, Issue 23, Posted 10:05 PM, 12.05.2017

Time For A New City Council

The current Council's latest "accomplishment" - the Medical Marijuana Ordinance - clearly shows that each of the Council members is out of touch with us common people, that they don't "get it," and shouldn't continue in office.

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Volume 13, Issue 20, Posted 12:05 PM, 10.17.2017

On Issue 2, Vote Yes For Lower Prescription Drug Prices

State Issue 2 is a simple, sound measure to reduce what Ohio’s government pays for prescription drugs. It’s good for those most in need, including people on Medicaid. It’s good for taxpayers, who are currently overpaying pharmaceutical companies by hundreds of millions of dollars per year.

If Ohio votes yes on Issue 2, drug companies will no longer be able to charge state agencies higher prices than they charge the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

That’s Issue 2. It’s a simple, modest measure that won’t directly affect many of us at all. It won’t affect Medicare enrollees, or those with private insurance. Prescription drug prices are out of control, however, and even pushing back in this limited way will save the public nearly $400 million every year.

Supporting Issue 2 is the common sense choice. If Issue 2 were in place now, repealing it would seem perverse. Why would we insist that our public agencies pay whatever price the pharmaceutical companies demand, instead of negotiating to save money? Right now that’s exactly what we do, and it needs to change.

Issue 2 will change that, for the better. Ohio’s Medicaid program and other agencies shouldn’t have to pay more than the VA pays. If we vote yes on Issue 2, they won’t have to.

The campaign against Issue 2 is designed to make this simple solution confusing, and we shouldn’t let it work. Medicare and private insurers have price agreements in place, independently, and pharmaceutical companies can’t suddenly change that. Drug research is largely performed by universities and other public institutions funded by our taxes. Lower profits for the drug companies won’t change that; in fact, big pharmaceutical companies can easily afford to trim their profits’ growth.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

A Winning Lakewood, For All

Success for Lakewood comes down to people. A city is truly flourishing if it’s working for all, and right now that isn’t happening. More people move out of Lakewood than move in.

Those of us running for City Council At-large this year agree on some things. At recent forums all of us agreed that opioid addiction is a challenge Lakewood hasn’t met so far. But I can’t agree with the claim that “we’re growing.” Because I see Lakewood as a community of people, above all. And that community isn’t growing.

U.S. Census numbers for Lakewood are in decline. That means it’s true that, as another candidate said, “people are voting with their feet.” But Lakewood is losing that vote. When the next census counts those votes, we could fall below 50,000 people and lose federal funding.

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

Vote Tristan Rader For Lakewood City Council At Large

When my wife and I decided to move to Greater Cleveland from outside of the area in 2012 we chose Lakewood in part because of its reputation as a "progressive" suburb. At first we found this characterization to be accurate, at least superficially. After all, every elected official, and pretty much every voter, in Lakewood identifies as a Democrat. Lakewood's Representative in the Ohio General Assembly is the first openly gay person to serve in the Ohio House of Representatives. Lakewood voted overwhelmingly for Obama in his 2012 re-election campaign, an effort I worked on as a Field Organizer.

However, a series of subsequent events, and learning a bit more about the recent history of Lakewood, led me to view the "progressive" reputation of Lakewood as largely a facade. The main event will be very familiar to Observer readers: the city's handling of the Cleveland Clinic/Lakewood Hospital issue. Without getting into the weeds of that controversy now, I was flabbergasted at the extent to which every single elected official in Lakewood simply rolled over and did whatever corporate and real estate interests wanted, not even really attempting to negotiate a better deal for the people of Lakewood. I also learned more about Lakewood's recent history, how in a nasty racially charged recent election cycle due to ostensible concern about "crime" the City's elected officials had taken steps like embracing long discredited and racist "Breed Specific (anti-Pit Bull) Legislation" and even gone so far as to puprosely dismantle every public outdoor basketball court in Lakewood for fear of attracting the "wrong element."

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Volume 13, Issue 19, Posted 5:13 PM, 10.03.2017

Why I Support Tristan Rader For City Council-At-Large

There are so many issues and events happening in this city, and when I moved to Lakewood close to three years ago this October, there was one person I knew who respected people and got around issues and causes that people supported simply because he cares about the community he lives in. That person is Tristan Rader. 

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Volume 13, Issue 17, Posted 12:35 PM, 09.06.2017